Prayer is the key. How often have you read this simple truth or heard it articulated by a Christian leader? All of my life, I have been taught, and throughout my ministry, I have taught others, that the key to the demonstrated power of God is prayer. If I were to ask those reading this column to affirm this, you undoubtedly would stand to your feet and shout a hearty “AMEN!”

Great moves of God among His people have always been borne on the wings of prayer. When God wants to do a majestic work, He places in the heart of His people the desire to pray. Be assured that the kind of prayer that moves mountains and restores nations, churches, families and individuals goes far deeper than “now I lay me down to sleep.” Prayer that God uses to bring spiritual awakening goes beyond short, quiet-time prayers. Before every great awakening, God called His people to soul-cleansing prayer that cried to Him for His hand of mercy and grace.

Prayer that brings revival is united, broad and deep. It starts with God’s call on a few lives and then spreads until large numbers of people are caught up in spiritual warfare. This kind of prayer calls to a Sovereign God Who displays His power among His people so they-and indeed the world-know He is God and there is no other. In the end, it is about His glory more than our blessing.

Over the last several years, God has been building a prayer movement among Oklahoma Baptists. First, He led Greg Frizzell to become our leader for prayer and spiritual awakening. Through his writings and speaking, Frizzell issues a prophetic call to the church to go deep in prayer. He has consistently shown many of us as leaders that our only hope for this state and nation is prayer. He has instilled a divine call within us to lead the people of God into deep believing prayer for transformation of our lives, our churches and ultimately our nation.

In 2008, two important steps are being taken. First, our Baptist Building staff is making prayer an even higher priority this year. In addition to developing our own private prayer lives, we will focus on our churches. We are going to pray across Oklahoma month by month. Staff members will be spending time praying for each church in Oklahoma.

Second, Frizzell will lead prayer nights across our state, and I will join him on most of those occasions. Our goal is to ignite the fire of powerful prayer in our churches. These will be times of teaching and worshiping-but most of all prayer. Our deep desire is to see church members and leaders leave these nights of prayer determined to make prayer the center of their ministry.

We closed our annual convention in November with a night of prayer. Our staff began 2008 by traveling to each of our affiliate organizations to pray with and for them. We spent concentrated time teaching and praying on prayer during our staff’s annual At Home Week. We mean business. We have no hope but the hope we have in crying out to God to revive us again.

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation” (Psalm 85:6). Will you join the team of prayer warriors across our state and make this prayer a centerpiece of your time before the throne?